You haven’t burned your hands climbing rope since the eighth grade.
Even then it would have been easy to change your name.
Everything you wore had fringes or spangles or lace.
Someone you knew from the clinic might have lent you a pen.
Who gave you that ball tied to a wooden cup?
When you flipped your wrist, didn’t all the dogs curl up like dinner rolls?
Where had the fevered scarecrow been?
Jetlagged at the London zoo, your face might have slumped against glass
where boa constrictors wriggled in fragrant dark.
You could have etched tattoos on your shoulders, arms and thighs.
I for one would have striven forward to that mystery.
I would have offered my plastic bags.
I would have opened the latch on my atomic bike.
Everything you wore that day marked you out for love.
My nose would have itched, I would have believed anything to touch that road.
How my legs ached.
I had walked to the world’s edge.
I would have leapt into your bed, screaming like a kamikaze grave.
My fingertips would have dug explosive pink from pavement, just to make you smile.
It would have been hard to slog forward through this heat.
Everything melts or blurs or wishes the day would dissolve in rain.
Even now, when Olympic madness twists how we view this new terrain
and my trained eyes believe nothing but the ghosts of cells,
I can barely make out where your shadow opens onto this veranda of melted light.
A certain misery in the genes:
and teeth the color
How many branches
to reach this pebbly
Your questions are ladders
vanished into clouds,
a gambler’s desperate
Even when your hands
are full, smoke blackens the cave
of your fearful lungs.
City of Glass
Streets of water or liquid glass –
we steam along in an open boat, motor
purring and red sky blurry through
the arching dome far above our startled heads.
We’re encased in this womb of glass, colored light
reflecting off the sides and your hair
on fire with rainbow hues. My hands
have grown huge, wide as a tennis racquet’s
hypnotic face, and my fingers squirm
like gorgon’s hair.
I realize now I am made for ice.
I dive, slapping my finny feet,
driving toward cold bottom where ice mountains
glow frigid from their jagged peaks.
Your boat speeds away to the palace of glass
and I can see her wake spreading from below,
a green oil slick widening overhead.
I can only imagine your eyes, brilliant, flaming
from your golden face, those beacons
for creatures crowded in this bubbly surf
struggling to mold any form that makes them whole.
Steve Klepetar's work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recently his work has appeared inRed Poppy, Ygdrasil, The Electric Poet, and FIVE2ONE. His most recent chapbook, "My Father Teaches Me a Magic Word," was recently published by Flutter Press.